Victoria has announced a significant easing of its Covid-19 restrictions in time for summer, allowing households to receive 30 visitors a day, relaxing mask-wearing rules, and increasing public gatherings to 100.
Victoria, once the worst hit state in the country, has now had 37 straight days free of Covid-19. The result, praised by premier Daniel Andrews as “amazing” on Sunday, has allowed a further easing of restrictions.
Victorians will, as of midnight local time, be allowed to have 30 visitors daily to their home from any number of other households, a doubling of the previous limit of 15.
Outdoor public gatherings will be able to include 100 people from any household.
Also from midnight, mask-wearing will only be mandatory in indoor shopping centres and public transport, including rideshares and taxis, but relaxed in other settings. Victorians must still carry a mask with them at all times and wear it when a physical distance of 1.5 metres cannot be maintained.
Mask use is encouraged, but not mandatory, in other situations.
Private sector offices can welcome back 50% of their employees, up from the current 25%, from Monday 11 January. Public sector workplaces will bring back 25% of their employees on the same date, increasing to 50% on 8 February.
Nightclubs will be able to reopen.
Bars, pubs, and cafes will also move to the one person per 2 sq metres rule for indoor and outdoor venues from midnight, with no cap on the total number of patrons. Standing service will now be allowed again, meaning patrons don’t have to be seated at bars to be served. The use of a QR code will be mandatory.
Smaller operations with patron numbers of less than 25 will have no density limit.
Weddings, funerals, and religious gatherings are now only required to have no more than one person for every 2 sq metres, with no cap on the total number of people.
Dancefloors will be able to host up to 50 people, with a density of one person per 4 sq metres.
“Thirty-seven days in a row is an amazing achievement,” Andrews said. “And every Victorian should be proud but this thing is not done or over and can come back. And if we don’t play our part and remain vigilant, then we do run the risk of everything that we have built being compromised. That is why we have all got to remain vigilant.”
Andrews warned that, without a vaccine, the state would again see cases.
“We will see outbreaks,” he said. “But we are very confident we will be able to control those. That control is underpinned by everyone playing their part and it will be undermined if people do not.”
“All of us need to remain vigilant and acknowledge that despite the breakthroughs being made in different parts of the world and the positivity about vaccines, the vaccine is not here yet.”
Retail and beauty services will be able to move to one person per 2 sq metres providing they use QR codes.
Rules around major events like the Boxing Day Test and Australian Open will be made on an event-by-event basis.
Real estate inspections and open homes will work to a one person 2 sq metre rule.
Further details on the changes can be found here.